Can Probiotics Affect your Mood, Behavior, and Brain Health?
For decades, Body Ecology has been teaching about the benefits of fermented foods and drinks. Chief among them is the incredible benefits for your digestion and gut health.
But while probiotics in fermented foods and drinks have many positive benefits for your gut, did you know that they also benefit your brain?
As probiotics make it into the mainstream, more and more doctors and scientists are researching their benefits on human health. In fact, the 5th International Yakult Symposium in Amsterdam was recently held for researchers, professors and scientists to discuss findings on how gut health influences overall health. The symposium’s main focus was the latest findings in how probiotics affect health beyond the gut – including brain health.
Termed the gut-brain axis, researchers are excited about the role of probiotics in brain health.
The gut-brain axis is a term being used by scientists researching how your brain and intestines interact.
Simply put, the gut-brain axis shows how the “end organ” (your intestines) are controlled by your enteric nervous system, which connects to your brain via your autonomic nervous system.1
Here’s a diagram to show how it works:
Brain (Central Nervous System)
Autonomic Nervous System (controls automatic functions like heart rate, digestion and breathing)
Enteric Nervous System (controls your gastrointestinal system)
Intestines, smooth muscle
With the signaling pathway of the gut-brain axis, it’s easier to understand why your moods (stress for example) can affect your intestines and your intestines can affect your moods.
So how do probiotics help?
Research has shown that probiotics heal the gut and now that you know about the gut-brain axis, it may be easier to understand what Body Ecology founder Donna Gates and Dr. Natasha McBride, MD, MMedSci (neurology), MMedSci(nutrition) have been teaching for years: probiotics heal the gut and a healthy gut leads to a healthy brain.
The good news is, science is beginning to do more studies to show the gut-brain connection.
Probiotics, Behavior and Brain Health
Professor John Bienenstock, Director of the Brain-Body Institute at McMaster University, shared his findings with reporters at the International Yakult Symposium. The Brain-Body Institute (BBI) was created to develop “a better understanding of the brain-body connection, the study of the brain's often mysterious relation to a whole range of diseases that are not necessarily classed as neurological or mental.”2
This includes the study of probiotics on overall health.
According to Professor Bienenstock, research shows that probiotics benefit:3
Your enteric nervous system
Composition, activity and function of your brain, like behavior and perception
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
While human applications of studies on probiotics and the brain are just beginning, human studies have been done on probiotics in the area of chronic fatigue syndrome that suggest that probiotics can have some effects on anxiety related to the chronic fatigue.4
How to Get Your Healthy Probiotics
Probiotics may be one of the easiest and most effective health tools we have today. You can easily add them to each meal, eat them as a snack or consume delicious, convenient probiotic liquids.
But what about probiotic supplements?
A good probiotic supplement is great, but probiotic-rich fermented foods and drinks are even better. At Body Ecology, we have always recommended whole food supplements and fermented foods and drinks fall into that category.
When you make cultured vegetables, young coconut kefir made with Body Ecology Starters or consume our Body Ecology probiotic liquids, like Innergy-Biotic, you are getting strong, hardy strains of bacteria that are native to the human intestines and work in harmony with one another.
And what’s most important is that these hardy probiotics survive the harsh stomach acid that kill most commercial probiotic supplements.
As the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates said, “Let thy food be thy medicine.” With fermented foods and drinks, you have a leg up in helping to heal your body and brain.
Feeding your body delicious fermented foods and drinks is a great way to boost your brain-body connection. Try some today and see how good you can feel!
To learn more, read:
Lactobacillus Plantarum: The Key Benefits of this "Superstar" Probiotic & How to Get It In Your Diet
Why Dannon ActiviaTM and Other Mass-Market Probiotic Products are Not as Healthy as You Think
1. The Brain-Gut Axis. IBS Research Update.
2. The Brain-Body connection: going beyond the dream. National Review of Medicine. February 2004. http://www.nationalreviewofmedicine.com/issue/2004_02_28/research01.html
3. Daniells, Stephen. Could probiotics affect behavior? June 23, 2009.